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Nearly 50,000 runners expected for Taiwan's largest full marathon

TAIPEI -- A record high number of runners have registered to compete in this Sunday's Taipei Fubon Marathon, the Taipei City government said yesterday.

Now in its 10th year, the marathon has become the most iconic running event in Taiwan, and 46,500 runners will take part in this year's competitive full marathon, half marathon and 9-kilometer run, according to the city government, which is organizing the event.

The number of female runners will hit a new high this year, increasing 23 percent from last year's race to 13,000, and a large foreign contingent of 1,700 foreign competitors from 50 countries will also line up at the starting line.

In addition to the main competitive events, a timed 2-km run is being held for children in the 5th and 6th grades, and a non competitive 3-km fun run is being organized for casual joggers that city officials expect will draw more than 50,000 participants.

A key theme of this year's fun run is to encourage middle-aged people and even the elderly to run, with groups of up to 25 members with an accumulated age of at least 1,000 years eligible to receive special souvenirs.

The 42.2-kilometer full marathon course will pass by many of Taipei's best known landmarks. Starting from Taipei City Hall, runners will head west to the Taipei Train Station, pass the Grand Hotel, and cross several elevated expressways and riverside parks before returning to the starting line.

Any full marathon runner who breaks the course record of 2 hours 10 minutes 24 seconds for men or 2:23:37 for women will earn a bonus of NT$2 million (US$66,000).

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